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English Premier League: The race to the third spot

Sriram Ilango
1.73K   //    14 Mar 2012, 22:17 IST

Obviously, every one of us is eagerly looking at the Premier League title race which is getting compelling by the minute. But, with Tottenham losing their last three matching and Arsenal winning all theirs, the race to the number three spot has heated up. Both these teams are surely out of the title race. The difference between the two North London sides is now only a single point. So, what will happen in the end? Let us see.

With the number three spot comes the automatic qualification to the Champions League. But that holds very little significance for these two rivals. Tottenham have been overshadowed by their rivals for well over two decades now. Arsenal on the other hand are not too happy with the sudden rise of their neighbors. So it is derby pride at stake now. Just like the Manchester sides fighting it out, you can hope to see these two clubs fight it out till the very last moment.

The Fixtures

Who has the easier set of fixtures is obviously going to decide the number three spot.

Arsenal have to face two more mighty fixtures against Chelsea and Manchester City. These fixtures might go either side but given Arsenal’s latest knack of scoring late winners, one might not rule them out of these two contests. They also have to face Everton and Stoke City away from home. Both Everton as well as Stoke have performed well at home and on their days, they will overhaul Arsenal.

Tottenham have to go to Stamford Bridge to face off against Chelsea which might be a crucial fixture. They also have to play away against Sunderland, who are in a good form. Other than these, they have a easier set of fixtures than Arsenal.

But Arsenal have defeated Newcastle United, Liverpool, Sunderland and Tottenham in their last four fixtures and so it might not be a big deal for them to defeat major teams.

The Players

If Robin van Persie gets sidelined or injured even for a single game, it will be a titanic job for Arsenal to replace him. Their captain has been so effective that he single handedly has provided 26 goals and 8 assists this season. The emergence of Theo Walcott is a good sign for the Gunners. Arteta, Song and Vermaelaen will also play crucial roles if Arsenal want to overtake Tottenham.

As far as Tottenham are concerned, Gareth Bale and Emmanuel Adebayor hold the key for them. Scott Parker has been wonderful for them in midfield and he will play a crucial role too.

Arsenal cannot replace van Persie while Tottenham have a Luis Saha in their squad. When squad depth is taken under consideration, Tottenham are better versed than Arsenal.

Although Tottenham have lost ground, they have the quality to make it to the number three spot. It is their place to lose now and how hard Arsenal will pounce will determine the number three spot

Sriram Ilango
I am neither clever nor gifted. I am only very, very curious.
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